Wegelin ends with a whimper

The Wegelin saga has reached its conclusion with a somewhat unexpected guilty plea:

Switzerland’s oldest bank is to close permanently after pleading guilty in a New York court to helping Americans evade their taxes.

Wegelin, which was established in 1741, has also agreed to pay $57.8m (£36m; 44m euros) in fines to US authorities.

It said that once this was completed, it “will cease to operate as a bank”.

The bank had admitted to allowing more than 100 American citizens to hide $1.2bn from the Internal Revenue Service for almost 10 years.

The Swiss banking industry seems decidedly rattled by the plea and by what the Wegelin partners have said, as demonstrated by this commentary: